Wayne State Chapter of the Society of Women Engineers to host event for high school students

The Wayne State University chapter of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) will host FutureSWE, a free one-day, hands-on exploratory event for girls in eighth to twelfth grades, on Feb. 21 at the WSU College of Engineering. The event, now in its eighth year, is made possible through a generous grant from the national SWE, a nonprofit organization that provides resources and advocacy for women pursuing or working in engineering-related disciplines.

Throughout the day, attendees can take part in several engineering demos, such as a Rubens’ tube — also known as a standing wave flame tube — and a build-your-own-hovercraft activity. The event will also feature a career-related discussion with a panel of women engineers hailing from such companies as Ford; Chrysler; Nissan; MAHL; and Hubbell, Roth & Clark.

This year promises to be the largest FutureSWE event yet, with space for up to 150 girls and their parents. Previous events have left a lasting impact on attendees, and some current College of Engineering students credit FutureSWE as a major factor in their decision to pursue engineering.

“Many folks have a narrow view of what is involved in engineering, but by introducing girls to different engineering disciplines — including biomedical, civil, computer and more — we may spark an interest in the STEM fields,” states event organizer, biomedical engineering Ph.D. student and WSU SWE member Tonya Whitehead.

Female student enrollment in the College of Engineering has increased steadily over the past few years, with 600 women enrolled as of fall 2014 — the largest number in at least a decade. WSU SWE advisor and assistant professor-research Rachel Kast asserts that FutureSWE fulfills a very necessary dual purpose.

“The event is entirely student run, giving our students an opportunity to develop their leadership, teamwork and teaching skills while simultaneously reinforcing the principles they are learning in the classroom,” she states. “The high school students are able to learn about a diverse range of disciplines from women just a few years older than them — mentors they can relate to.”

Breakfast, lunch and parking will be provided at this free event. For additional information or to register, visit engineering.wayne.edu/org/swe/futureswe.php

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